Skip to content

Ripples 2019

Ripples was a combination of a 12-string guitar piece composed by Rutherford and a piano-led middle section written by Banks. Taken from the Trick of the Tail album, released in February 1976. A Trick of the Tail is the seventh studio album by Genesis. It was the first album to feature drummer Phil Collins as lead vocalist following the departure of Peter Gabriel.

Firth of Fifth 2019

The title is a pun on the estuary of the River Forth in Scotland, commonly known as the Firth of Forth. Though the song is credited to the entire band, most of the music was composed by keyboardist Tony Banks. He had written the bulk of the song by 1972, presenting it as a candidate for the album Foxtrot (1972), but it was rejected. He redesigned the piece, which the group accepted as a candidate for Selling England by the Pound.Banks worked on the lyrics with the group’s Mike Rutherford, which he later dismissed, saying they were “one of the worst sets of lyrics [I have] been involved with.”

Musical Box 2019

Though credited solely to Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford, “The Musical Box” began as an instrumental piece written by Anthony Phillips called “F#” (later released as “Manipulation” on the Box Set remaster). The lyrics are based on a Victorian fairy story written by Gabriel, about two children in a country house. The girl, Cynthia, kills the boy, Henry, by cleaving his head off with a croquet mallet. She later discovers Henry’s musical box. When she opens it, “Old King Cole” plays, and Henry returns as a spirit, but starts aging very quickly. This causes him to experience a lifetime’s sexual desire in a few moments, and he tries to persuade Cynthia to have sexual intercourse with him. However, the noise causes his nurse to arrive, and she throws the musical box at him, destroying them both. The album cover shows Cynthia holding a croquet mallet, with a few heads lying on the ground.

Collins unusually uses mallets on his drums during the flute solo and Gabriel also plays oboe during the ‘Old King Cole’ section. Hackett, Banks and Rutherford all play 12-string acoustic guitars. During his brief tenure with the band, Mick Barnard added guitar parts towards the end of the song while in rehearsals, which the band liked. Hackett kept both the guitar parts from Phillips and Barnard, while adding his own pieces to the song as well.

Watcher of the Skies 2019

The title is borrowed from John Keats’ 1817 poem “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer”:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;

The song was frequently used to open the group’s live performances and features as the first track on their 1973 live album Genesis Live. The song opens with a Mellotron intro. According to Tony Banks, the introductory section was intended to take advantage of idiosyncrasies in the tuning of the Mellotron model he was using at the time: 

It was intentionally melodramatic to conjure up an impression of incredible size. It was an extraordinary sound. On the old Mellotron Mark 2 there were these two chords that sounded really good on that instrument. There are some chords you can’t play on that instrument because they’d be so out of tune. These chords created an incredible atmosphere. That’s why it’s just an incredible intro number. It never sounded so good on the later Mellotron.

The Knife

“The Knife” is a song by progressive rock band Genesis from their second album, Trespass (1970). As the final song in their set, the song was performed often in the band’s first five years (a live version appears on the Genesis Live album from 1973) and has appeared sporadically in the band’s concerts through 1982. The first half of the song was released as a single in May 1971 with the second half as the B-side, but it did not chart. The heavy, progressive rock style of the song was a marked change from previous Genesis songs; it showed the band pioneering a new direction.

The song was unusually aggressive for Genesis at the time, as most of their work consisted of soft, pastoral acoustic textures and poetic lyrics. It features a bouncy, march-like organ riff, heavily distorted guitars and bass, and fast drumming. (Peter Gabriel said he wanted to write something that had the excitement of “Rondo” by the Nice, and the song’s working title was “Nice”.) In the lyrics of the song, Gabriel, influenced by a book on Gandhi, “wanted to try [to] show how all violent revolutions inevitably end up with a dictator in power”. Gabriel’s flute solo gave the song a peaceful interlude amid the aggressive rock elements. The song is in the key of A♭ minor, a difficult key on the flute, so in concert Gabriel would pull the two pieces of his flute apart slightly to lower its pitch by a semitone, then transpose the fingering up a semitone to A minor. Tony Banks tried to remind Gabriel to adjust the flute before each performance, but occasionally the flute solo was performed in the wrong key.

I Know What I Like

The song’s lyrics concern a young man who is employed as a groundsman and who says that he does not want to grow up and do great things, being perfectly happy where he is, pushing a lawn mower. Betty Swanwick’s painting The Dream, which was used for the Selling England album cover, alludes to the song; Swanwick added the mower to the original painting at the band’s request.

The song, inspired by the Beatles, has a psychedelic rock sound, using hand percussion rhythms and a riff from Steve Hackett that originated from a jam between Hackett and Phil Collins. Keyboardist Tony Banks used a note played on the low end of the Mellotron during the intro and ending to imitate the sound of a lawn mower.

Carpet Crawlers

“The Carpet Crawlers”, is a song originally from the 1974 Genesis concept album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. The song was re-recorded in 1999 with the name “The Carpet Crawlers 1999”.

In this portion of The Lamb story, the main character Rael finds himself in a red carpeted corridor, filled with kneeling people that are slowly crawling towards a wooden door at the end of the hall. Rael dashes by them towards the door and goes through it. Behind the door is a table with a candlelit feast on it, and behind that, a spiral staircase that leads upwards out of sight.

Though credited to the whole band, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks wrote most of the music, with the help of Peter Gabriel.

It was Genesis’ last single to feature lead vocalist Peter Gabriel for 25 years. The 1999 re-recorded version also featured Peter Gabriel’s singing making it his last appearance on a Genesis record to date, as well as the last studio recorded song by any iteration of Genesis.

Descriptions of these videos have been taken from Wikipedia.
Back to top